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Lesson 14 from: Produce And Create An Impactful Interview

Abba Shapiro

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Lesson Info

14. Q&A

Lesson Info


- [Abba] What I want to do is i actually did a rough cut of the footage that we shot with Blair. And I want to show it to you, and then after we see it, I'll talk a little bit about how my thought process was when I put it together and then we'll go to some questions. So, let's go ahead and watch my semi-rough cut. - [Blair] World quilt domination. ♪ [music] ♪ This book is really for beginners who would like to learn more about quilt making and seasoned quilters who have fabrics that they don't know what to do with and are looking for new design ideas. This is one of the projects in the book that talk about exploring color value with a lot of different fabrics and how to use that in looking at all of the fabrics that you may own to make a quilt with those. And so, this just is an example of using dark, medium, and light color value in a quilt to make the design. An example of some of the things that I use, my husband is a cyclist, he saves all of his cycling numbers which are usually T...

yvek, they look a lot like this. They pin them to their jerseys. I think that triathletes also use something like that. He saves them but didn't really know what to do with them, so we made...or I made, he didn't make, a quilt with them. This is one of the projects in the book, shows you how to do it and how to sew with something unconventional like Tyvek, and how to preserve something. This has memories for him and memories for our family of races that we've been in. A lot of people have questions about quilting with things like indigo denim. And so, there is a quilt that actually takes old denim jeans and hand-me-downs and turns it into a quilt that you can use in your home. It tells you how to work with heavy fabrics like that. The name of the book is "Wise Craft Quilts: A Guide to Turning Beloved Fabrics into Meaningful Patchwork", comes out in March of this year, and it's 21 projects that use fabrics that are meaningful to our lives in some way in quilt projects. ♪ [music] ♪ - So, that's an example of how I... not as what I anticipated when I was actually doing that initial cut. I want to talk to you a little bit, very quickly because I want to get to some questions, about my thought process. I ended rearranging the entire story for a couple of reasons. One, instead of starting with, "Here's my book," and then talking about it, I wanted to engage the audience with some stories that might interest them as opposed, "Let's show them how cool this is and then tell them you can get a book," versus "Come buy my book and this is what's in it." So, that was one of the thought processes as I edited. The other thing is I had real writer's block or editor's block when I started this. I wasn't sure what I wanted to tell my story. I had that great little sound bite that she did, like, off-camera, "World quilt domination," which I thought really kind of set a nice tone. It lightened it, she wasn't so serious and it made her seem more friendly throughout the rest of the show. So, I threw that in and put the typing in, and I was thinking, you know, "I could always get rid of this," but it got me over that editor's block. It got me off my starting point. And I liked it, so I kept it in. And then, a couple other things that you might have noticed is she's picking things up and putting them down but if you watch this again, you'll notice that she's not putting down and picking up the same things. I'm cutting on motion and, you know, like, you see her put something down and that she's picking something up in the close-up, it wasn't what she put down, it wasn't there when she put down but you just fill in the blanks. Your brain says, "Oh, yeah, she's picking stuff up," you're looking at her, okay? Or, in some cases, I could easily make the cut because you saw we were looking at the numbers on the Tyvek and because of that, as soon as she put that down, your eye goes to the Tyvek and you make the connection and that smoothes out the edit. So, a lot of times, I cheated that way with different B-roll. I did shoot that. So, one of the cameras is in 4K so I was able to do the wide shot of her. And then, I can go in for the close-up ISO because I had it all on one camera. And that saved me with a lot of the editing. And then, in some cases, I didn't know what I could do to cover the edit. I didn't want to do any kind of dip to color or any kind of a dissolve and show the edit, so that's when I put, you know, she gave me a picture of the quilt, she's talking about quilts so I could just pan across. And part of the reason I put the order that I did is because I needed to get from the white quilt where we talk about colors, as she talks about colors, to the denim and I had a transition that I could use which was that photograph. And then, we come back at the end, she pitches the book, and then I can bring the book in, the graphic that she gave me, and the date. And I get fairly cohesive piece that kind of, hopefully, causes the viewer to be interested in looking into the book and buying the book. And it tells a nice story, you get to know it. So, that was my thinking behind it. I want to answer one question to start with that was written in, and then we'll go to a question from the audience, and then we'll take some more questions. So, the question that I'm going to read was from Art that said, "How would you compare iMovie, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Do you have strong preferences for different applications?" That could be a full course into itself, but what I do want to point out, though we used Premiere for a good chunk of this to explain my thought process, pretty much everything I did can be done in...well, everything I did can be done in Final Cut Pro 10, and iMovie has a lot of strands where you could do the same things. The idea is to tell the story whether you're using Premiere, or Final Cut 10, or iMovie, or whatever editing program you have. It's the tool, you're the storyteller, okay? And you're just facilitating that. Maybe iMovie doesn't have multi-cam, but you can still tell the story. So, any one of those programs are great. I use all of them and I pick them based upon what I'm cutting. I don't expect you to. Get a program that works for you, learn it, so that way you can push the tool out of the way mentally and you can tell your story. - [Woman] As you're thinking about your workflow, if you have things to do like audio correction, sound correction, or color correction, where in your workflow do you think about doing that? Especially if you have a multi-camera situation where you may have different sound from different cameras. Although, obviously, the idea is that you just have one or maybe you just have one camera that needs color correction and the others are, you know... - It's a good question and it doesn't have an easy answer because there isn't one workflow that does it. Sometimes, I need to do things before I really get into editing. If I know that I need to do a quick color correction, I may color correct that one camera before I make it into a multi-camera sequence. Depending on the program, you can apply it with Master Clip in Premiere. If I do that after, in fact, it would ripple down. So, I could do it before or after, but if I find a distraction, I would definitely do it. It doesn't take me that long or at least get close. The same thing is I want to make sure at least to have one clean channel of audio because I don't want to be distracted. So, those are big things. Do I do the fine-tuning at that point of worrying about my audio levels and if it really is a scene-to-scene match? I try not to. I really want to figure out what my story is, and I just want to get it clean enough that I can start moving things around, get a feel for things because I don't want to spend time color correcting or fixing audio if I end up deleting that clip because I don't need it. It's a waste of time. I want to just kind of get into the story, get a feel for it, and as I'm working with it, I'm going to take mental notes or written notes or put markers in the timeline about things that I know I need to fix. But I don't worry about, you know, levels and mixes, I just want to figure out what the best story is, tell that, figure out how I'm going to cover problems for edits and whatnot. And then, I'll go back because I do worry about...or I'm concerned about how am I going to transition if I have jump cuts or location cuts that I have something to do that. And I might need to rearrange my story based upon what my B-roll is, which is exactly what I ended up doing with the three-minute piece that we just did. Okay? So, let's see what our next question is. "Do you suggest sending a style/wardrobe guide to your interview subject?" Absolutely. It doesn't have to be a formal guide, but you should send them something that indicates the kind of things that they should and should not wear. Because it's challenging to record if somebody's wearing all black in a dark background, you don't see any detail. The same thing is if they're wearing bright white and you're getting a lot of reflection. So, you want to tell them some of the basics. And, again, as we talked about earlier, you know, fine pattern sometimes will give moiré, and things that might rustle or things that might not look good on camera. So, yes, it doesn't hurt you. And you know something? Because you've developed that communication, they're going to be more relaxed. They're going to be ready and not worried about, "Oh my gosh, what do I need to wear?" Okay? So, I do try to send them that, and you will develop a list and there's lots of things on the web where you can find out suggestions. "What is the best way to bridge the gap when you have a story in mind, but the person being interviewed had a different story or angle in mind? How much time should you spend redirecting?" Well, Maria, that's a good question and it's a challenging answer. I'm not going to say anything's an easy answer. If you have a specific story in mind because you have an objective, you need to make sure you get that story. Otherwise, what's the objective? You have to figure out your objective. Now, if it's just a person, you're doing, like, a biography or you're just, you know, doing a lifestyle piece, maybe their story is better. So, you don't want to be so fixed that, "Oh, I need this," and they want to talk about this, it's a better story. But if you have a mission, if you're doing something about a recipe or a cooking show and a specific recipe they might be working on, or you're doing something for a corporation and they need to market the company, you need to get certain sound bites and you need to redirect them. And you have to do it gently, you can't say, "You must say this," but be patient, listen to them, explain to them it's like, "That was really good. You know, I also want to talk about this." And it needs to be... Because we want to do this. Give them context, tell them why, and they can appreciate where you're going. Again, people want to look good and sound good, so if you, you know, put it in that language, you'll be in much better shape and you should be able to do it. But it's gentle redirecting, but you should try to get exactly what you need because otherwise, you're going to be in the edit and you're going to go, "Why didn't I do that? I don't have a story to tell." "To ease nerves, should you ever tell them they can view the final piece before it is released?" Michelle, that's a challenge because you don't want them to think that they have editorial control over this, unless they actually are the client and you're hired to tell the story and then they do get a review version. You never want them to see all the raw footage because they'll look awful, they'll see mistakes. You want to give them something that tells a story that you think is the best thing you can put forward, and usually show them in the final or off the scene in the final. You need to establish in the interview that you're doing the best thing for them, but you don't want to bring another producer in to muddy the waters. "Abba, is there anything special/extra consideration if you're a one-man-band - interviewer, cameraman, and audio?" Okay, Michelle, most of us are one-man-bands, and this is a great question because it becomes a huge challenge. It goes back to what I said about being prepared when you walk in with your gear. Don't think about that you need your batteries charged, you need your cards good, you need to make sure the camera settings are wrong or right because you had it set on manual or the wrong daylight. Try to get that done before. You'll be more relaxed, okay? You'll be able to set that up. And the point is it is a challenge. You're worrying about the camera while you're doing the interview and it does pull your focus away. And that's just the nature of what we're dealing with. But if you can avoid any of those potential problems, know your gear. Don't just think, "Oh, I haven't used it for a couple of weeks. I'm going to go grab it." Know your gear, make sure you have everything tested out, have a checklist to do before while you're packing to make sure everything works and also to make sure you bring everything you need and you have redundancy. We talked in the video about have plenty of batteries, have plenty of cards. I always bring a backup camera. Often, I'll shoot with two cameras because if one camera goes down and I'm not watching it, at least I have the sound bite. Okay? And before you let them go, make sure it did record because you don't want to have to call them up the next day and say, "I just checked my camera and we didn't get anything." If you have a problem, you can tell them right there, you say, "Look, I had a technical issue. The camera shut off. Can we try that again? Can you give me another half hour?" Or if you need to do something like replacing this, like, "Can we schedule something?" They don't want to know afterwards there was a problem. Be willing to tell them then and you'll be a lot safer. So, I always have redundancy, the iPhones with the lavaliers, extra batteries. Do realize that if you overgear yourself, camera here, camera here, camera there, you're running around turning everything on. You're so worried about all the gear. Too much of a good thing can be a problem, too. So, you want to find a good balance for you and you want to know your gear. "Can you clarify why room tone is important and when you would use it in the edit?" Another great question. We saw us recording that in the video. We actually heard ourselves watching silent, but I always record room tone at the beginning and in the end. I do think it's critical. Everybody who is in the room during the interview should be in the room when you do room tone so the sound is the same, the way it echoes off us. And then, what I do is when I'm cutting it together, if I need to separate and give a pause where there wasn't a pause to create a dramatic moment to help it be more understandable so the viewer can digest something before they make the next statement, I don't want it to be vacuous. I want to be able to put that room tone in so it seems like they took a natural pause. So, I really always try to get that. It's also very useful in some cases if you are taken into an audio sweetening situation using, say, Audition, a part of the Creative Cloud. You can use that room tone as a sampling of the noise in the room to remove it from part of the interview because it can see what the noise was, remove it from the good stuff, and then you get much cleaner audio. So, there is value to it and it only takes 30 seconds at the beginning and the end of each location. "How long should you allow yourself to setup and test prior to the interview for a two camera shoot?" A little longer than for a one-camera shoot, but I don't mean that to be a flipped answer. I said before that it's an ideal situation if you know that you're going to do a more complicated shoot. Two cameras might be tougher because you have to make sure the light's on in the other camera, that everything is positioned, that your batteries are set. I would tell the person being interviewed it's going to take me time to set up. And you will know that time because you will have practiced this because you're comfortable with your gear. So you don't look like it's the first you used it in front of them, so they're comfortable with your skill level. But if you tell them, "Look, I need an hour in the room. You don't have to be there. I just want to make sure it's all set up," then, if it only takes you 40 minutes, guess what? You're ahead of the game. Okay? If it takes you an hour, you used all your time, you'll get better and better each time but it's important that they're not waiting on you for a long time because you misjudged the time or you told them less time than it would really be. They should be aware when you're arriving, how long it's going to take to set up, and when they'll be ready to talk and how long you're hoping to work with them. "If you are shooting and leading the interview, is it best to keep your subject out of the room while you're setting up?" Yeah, I usually try to keep them out of the room, and the biggest thing is they may be curious and it's a distraction and I want to focus on setting it up and making sure it's right. It's been a situation, I've had people in there, they're talking, they're all excited about this interview, and I'm trying to make sure my batteries are in, my camera's set to manual focus, and my depth of field's right, and I'm distracted. And that's when problems do happen. So, in an ideal world, you want to be able to focus 100%. It will not always happen. You want to make sure that you still keep the rapport, but you need to manage them. So, you'll get this experience with time, but ideally, focus on yourself to make sure you're technically ready so you can be ready to actually have a conversation and not worry about your gear. I'm asking you if you want to join the Final Cut... Not the Final Cut, I just did a Final Cut class and a Premiere class, but join the Abba Shapiro CreativeLive Facebook group so you can post more questions. I'll answer the questions I didn't get to, and it's an opportunity to talk to a community of people who are doing the same thing. And you can learn from other people's mistakes, other people's challenges and other people can give you ideas of how you can do things. So, it's a great community. It is a mix of the people who've watched the Final Cut Pro 10 course, the Premiere course, as well as this course, which I really like because ultimately, many of us are one-man-bands as in the question. And you could learn an editing question even though you only watched the interview class and vice versa.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Rough Cut of Blair Stocker Interview
Location Considerations

Ratings and Reviews


I found this course very helpful and I recommend it. I picked up a lot of tips, and frankly this course made me realize that putting more preparation into client interactions AND using a more sophisticated production pays off in higher quality video. I wish he had gone into more detail on microphones and camera gear but I can pick that up on review sites.

Jess Connor

At first, I felt like the class was difficult to get into during the "live" instruction but quickly found after the first few classes that the information was extremely valuable. Maybe it was just me- maybe it just wasn't my style at first. I absolutely would recommend this class to anyone interested in learning interview or basic film skills. It's brilliant!

Geo Wright

Abba was great at explaining why you would do a specific thing in an interview and also the editing as well. Well worth watching.

Student Work